Class of 1997
Peter Munk is the founder, chairman and CEO of Barrick Gold Corporation, a leading North American gold producing company. Born in Budapest, Hungary in 1927, Munk’s family escaped death when Hungary was invaded by Nazi Germany in March 1944. Munk went on to graduate from the University of Toronto in 1952 with a degree in electric engineering.
Munk entered mining in 1983 when he purchased a stake in an Alaskan placer mine and half the Renabie mine in Ontario. He purchased several smaller mines before the acquisition of the Goldstrike Mine in Nevada – a property most experts believed had limited potential. However, Munk’s gamble paid off and today Goldstrike is the largest producing pit mine in the world, producing over two million ounces of gold a year.
In less than two decades, Munk had developed one of the world’s largest and most respected mining companies. He also implemented an innovative hedging program, and its success surprised skeptics: Barrick’s Premium Gold Sales Program generated almost US$2 billion in additional revenue over a 13-year period.
Munk also founded Horsham Corporation in 1987, and became Chairman and CEO of TrizecHahn when Horsham and Trizec Corporation merged in 1996. Today, TrizecHahn is one of the largest real estate companies in North America.
Munk is also a philanthropist; the Peter Munk Charitable Foundation was created in 1992, and has since donated over $50 million to a variety of organizations dedicated to improving the health, learning and international reputation of Canadians. Munk also donated $6 million to the Toronto General Hospital in 1997, which went toward creating the Peter Munk Cardiac Centre.
Peter Munk has been called “Canada’s Goldfinger” as well as “the most influential mining executive in the world.” He was appointed an Officer of the Order of Canada in 1993, has received many honorary degrees, and is in the Canadian Mining Hall of Fame. Barrick Gold’s continued success is due in large part to the astute, pioneering and highly focused business strategies of its founder.